On Sunday I had a very surreal, bittersweet experience. I walked through each room of my parent’s house at 667 Cross Creek Drive and said goodbye. Goodbye to the house that we’ve lived in since I was a sophomore in high school – the longest we’ve ever been anywhere. I stood in each place and, like a movie montage with Coldplay playing in the background, images flashed through my mind of sweet moments in each spot. Cooking in our wonderful kitchen; drinking coffee while lounging on the big leather sofas in the family room; enjoying many holiday dinners around the dining room table; talking on the phone for hours on end and playing the grand piano in the living room; watching episode after episode of LOST with my siblings in the study; having my very own room and bathroom – a teenage girl’s dream; sleepovers and scary movies in the basement; reading in the sun room; laying in the hammock in the backyard; and one of my favorites – sitting on the back porch during each season of my life, looking up at the trees and having long conversations with God. I did so much growing up in that house. It’s home and that’s how I’ll always think of it.
But life goes on and now that we have wonderful Ben Haven (our refuge on the Blue Ridge Parkway) and Mom and Dad are empty-nesters, there’s really no need for such a big space. It’s time for another chapter, time to move on.
I must admit that I’m sad to say goodbye to this piece of my adolescence and young-adulthood. This move feels different than all the rest. You see, we Refvems have done this before. We’ve moved. A lot. The majority of my childhood was spent changing towns or schools every couple of years. We’ve gone from California, to Virginia, to Mississippi, back to California, to Texas, back to California yet again and then to North Carolina. I went to 6 elementary schools and lived in 8 houses from birth to high school graduation. So when we moved to Cross Creek Drive when I was 15, it didn’t have some earth-shattering significance for me. I was glad we had the bigger space (there are 7 of us in my immediate family), but I’d learned not to get too attached. But lo and behold, Bill and Joanna stayed put…for 13 years. That’s huge. It just so happens that this house is where we’ve been the longest, where I didn’t necessarily “grow up” but I did a lot of “growing up.” I became fond of the big brick house at the end of the neighborhood and I like that we found a resting place for so many years.
I know that wherever my parents live next – the condo? a loft in downtown Mt. Airy? – will feel just as much like home. As soon as all of our things fill up the space and my parents begin to live life, it will become ours. It will smell like us and have the same pictures on the wall and books on the shelves. And of course, home is made up of people, not places and things and I’m thankful that my home is 6 people whom I absolutely adore. We’ll always be together, no matter what roof is over our head.
I might not be so good with change and I happen to be a pretty big homebody – not a good combination for this latest development – but with my loveable family providing me with an ever growing and dynamic home base, I can truly say I am excited about what the next chapter holds. It’s a bittersweet close to this one, but hopefully in the forthcoming pages there’ll be some weddings and some babies and some holidays at Ben Haven and family trips to England and California. I know there will be laughter and tears and hugs and fights and making-up and holding on and letting go. That’s where the real story happens, in our lives and hearts, with the walls surrounding us merely echoing what they’ve seen and heard.
So, farewell, dear house. You’ve been good to us and we’ll miss you.
And to Dad, Mom, Will, Emma, Jill and Charlotte – thank you for loving me without ceasing and giving me a nurturing space to grow into the woman I’m meant to be. You are my home and you are where my heart is.